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View Full Version : A general Messiah question for all to give input


maddav99
06-15-2008, 05:42 AM
I am not a Messiah user but have always been curious as it was touted as this amazing animation tool, and from what little I have seen through videos on the web it looked as such. But lately, since the release of 3.0 and maybe a little before, I hear less and less of its animation prowess and more of its rendering capabilites. With all of the other outstanding rendering packages that are readily available, many of which are free, what are the benefits of Messiah that would make it worth me pursuing it? It should be known that I am primarily concerned with it's animation toolset; rigging, skinning, etc.. As I said I am very interested in this software, have been for a long time, but the recent posts I've read have me thinking it's not what I thought it was. Thanks in advance for all of your replies!

StOuen
06-15-2008, 08:54 AM
To be honest, I think I was hoping for more on the animation side for a paid upgrade as I use lightwave for rendering but its still a fantastic animation package. Coming from a lightwave background, I found messiah very comfortable to use.

Suricate
06-15-2008, 09:36 AM
There have been many discussions over the past few years whether it was such a wise idea of pmG to devote their time to develop their own rendering engine rather than focussing on the animation part of their program. In my opinion, an app that only deals with animation has some serious limits, as nowadays many things (e.g. hair or ZBrush displacement) require a tight connection between the animation and the rendering part.

Even though the animation part has become less attention over the past few years and some features are missing, I think that for small to medium-sized character animation messiah is still the fastest and easiest program to use.

Ulven
06-15-2008, 01:22 PM
Messiah's render engine is actually quite good for character based stuff though, which is what I like to use it for. The SSS is easy to set up and quick, and GI is quite fast too.
To me, as a full time dedicated messiah artist, it makes perfect sense to bring the render engine up to the same strength as the animation system, as there are many things that can be achieved with both that can't be achieved with just one or the other (such as for instance driving Zbrush stress maps for muscle bulges, veins and tendrils with the rotation of limbs.)
That said, the animation and rigging part of the program is still the strongest, even after all the updates to the render engine, just because there are so many clever, timeless ideas in there. The graph editor is a beauty, the expression system ingenious, and the animation playback speed for subdivided, rigged and animated characters is still just awesome.
In fact, when you use it right, it may well be one of the quickest systems in which to produce character animation as testified by THUR's couple of weeks per 3 minute plankton invasion episode of high quality animation with just a single artist.

StOuen
06-15-2008, 01:38 PM
In fact, when you use it right, it may well be one of the quickest systems in which to produce character animation as testified by THUR's couple of weeks per 3 minute plankton invasion episode of high quality animation with just a single artist.

I second that!

MarkInTx
06-15-2008, 03:53 PM
Well, I think if you are asking: "Why would I buy Messiah for rendering?" The answer is: You wouldn't. The only reason for choosing Messiah is for it's cool animation tools... which aren't just a different gadget -- it is almost a whole new way of looking at the problem.

That said... There was more work done on the render side of Messiah this time out, which is why a lot of posts center on that these days. It's new. it only makes sense that we talk about it.

However, what would you call fur? Is that rendering? Sure... but it is also very much a part of the model, and it moves, so it is part of the animation... I guess my point is that some of the render stuff plays into the animation as well.


I am not a Messiah user but have always been curious as it was touted as this amazing animation tool, and from what little I have seen through videos on the web it looked as such. But lately, since the release of 3.0 and maybe a little before, I hear less and less of its animation prowess and more of its rendering capabilites. With all of the other outstanding rendering packages that are readily available, many of which are free, what are the benefits of Messiah that would make it worth me pursuing it? It should be known that I am primarily concerned with it's animation toolset; rigging, skinning, etc.. As I said I am very interested in this software, have been for a long time, but the recent posts I've read have me thinking it's not what I thought it was. Thanks in advance for all of your replies!

catizone
06-16-2008, 01:44 AM
I don't think you would be disappointed with messiah. I simply wouldn't switch to anything else for character work because it is so powerful and FLEXIBLE, as well as relatively simple to get used to.

As far as the render side, it was certainly a viable step to bring that up to the quality and speed of the animation toolset, because some wanted to use messiah solely, as opposed to using it as an interface within another app. Then too, there was the need for fur.

It has SO many animation tools and effects now, that I'm not too sure what they could add next. Messiah was SUCH a revolution, that I think some came to expect conceptual innovations in every upgrade.


I would guess with some accuracy that PMG has been and continues to work on really cool things that will filter to us when they reach full implementation and integration. Remember, one of the things that makes messiah great (IMO) is that ALL their tools, effects, and expressions actually WORK together without conflicts.

Best,
Rick

dobermunk
06-16-2008, 11:10 AM
It has SO many animation tools and effects now, that I'm not too sure what they could add next.

Ha!
1) Melt should support primitives
2) animation curves should be true in space even when they are in a heirarchy
3) multiple selected items should all accept edits (even edit sphere scaling) when the 'e' button is activated
4) body curves
5) .... I can go on!

Messiah is still my favorite animation package and a rendering system belongs to an animation package. There are simply too many realms where displacement textures or effects are part of the rig and need a simple pipeline to output.

My 2 cents

catizone
06-16-2008, 12:58 PM
Well, Body Curves would be nice...if you mean some exterior way of controlling the curve of a surface that has already been keyed with bones in order to have a more fluid contour for classic animation feel...

Best,
Rick

Nichod
06-16-2008, 03:36 PM
With all of the other outstanding rendering packages that are readily available, many of which are free, what are the benefits of Messiah that would make it worth me pursuing it?

The intergration. Messiah's biggest benefits compared to many other applications is that everything works with everything else. Its the "learn it once" concept you read about in the Messiah manual. The shader nodes can be used to control deformation on a mesh via armatures, they can texture, they can composite during rendering, etc. You can use an expression to control an animation movement and at the same time have that same expression help control a texture change during the animation or even have it effect something during rendering.

Many free renderers may exist, but I'd say free means nothing if it doesn't fit into the pipeline smoothly. This seems to be something that pmg thinks about. When they added hair for instance it ties into everything else (or so it seems so far): you can use expressions to control it, soft body, metaeffectors to influence it, texture maps to control placement, etc.

Good luck with your purchase decision.

maddav99
06-18-2008, 12:59 AM
Maybe I need to be a little more specific; what does Messiah do in animation, or more specifically, character animation, that would warrant my buying it. Again, I have no real clue what Messiah has to offer other then what videos I've seen, mostly from their site but also "Fallen Art" and I believe Jimmy Neutron is done with Messiah but I could be mistaken. Of those I have been impressed, especially with Taron's work, but that goes without saying. Jimmy Neutron is only so-so. But from just watching what people have done I don't really how it's tools add up. One of the things I am dealing with right now is a very oddly shaped character and volume preservation in Maya. It's a very simple mesh and yet has been a skinning nightmare (yeah, I'm an anally retentive perfectionist!) So what does Messiah have to offer that would make me take a second and maybe even a third look at it?

catizone
06-18-2008, 01:06 AM
I'll take a first shot and the others can add to it.

First, messiah's bones don't need "skinning". It is so nice to just draw bones in, and be 85-100% done, depending on what the demands of the character and final look are. However, you can weight and add to them as needed...if necessary at all. Depending on exactly what you mean by "volume preservation", you may find that Puppetmaster may help, as you section your character, but can also affect it with bones, expressions, and other tools, etc, but each "section" controls the final mesh. And anything can be parented to anything.

And as I said, it is the only program I have used that allows every element (tools, expressions, bones, effects, etc.) to work together, without conflicts. And a huge factor for me, is that I can add to my rig at any time, and not lose any of my animation, but just click back into "animate" mode and go. You can structure and restructure orders of effects, commands, and other processes at the click of the mouse, and just watch the changes effected.

That is just my summary.

Jimmy Neutron the Feature film, was rigged and animated entirely with messiah.

Best,
Rick

Ulven
06-18-2008, 06:35 AM
-Messiah's bones have pretty good default weighting, which is why you sometimes don't need to do any skinning. What I do usually though, is use metaeffectors to weight the main body parts in messiah, arms, legs, body, head + any wings or tails or additional limbs like that. Once that's assigned to the bones, the factored default weighting of the bones can usually handle the rest quite well. Muscle bones can be added very easily to improve volume preservation on limbs or to add squash and stretchy controls with volume preservation, and you can use hold bones with a couple of expressions to drive them on things like elbows etc if you like.

-Armatures allow you to easily create things like icon buttons for selecting and manipulating the items in your rig, or running scripts and manipulating settings.

-Expressions in messiah are very quick and powerful, and you can start making quite complex character rigs without really knowing any scripting or programming. Changing the order they are in makes it easy to experiment with how they would work in unison in different ways.

-It plays back animation of your subdivided, rigged and animated character in realtime without needing to create a playblast.

MarkInTx
06-18-2008, 02:34 PM
One of the things I am dealing with right now is a very oddly shaped character and volume preservation in Maya. It's a very simple mesh and yet has been a skinning nightmare (yeah, I'm an anally retentive perfectionist!) So what does Messiah have to offer that would make me take a second and maybe even a third look at it?

Maybe you could post some screen shots of the model in question? Maybe they guys here have rigged something similar and can give you an idea of how they attacked it in Messiah...?

BTW, have you seen Plankton Invasion? That has some really oddly shaped creatures, and they move quite nicely... all done by one animator in Messiah.

http://www.planktoninvasion.com/

Nichod
06-18-2008, 03:00 PM
Maybe I need to be a little more specific; what does Messiah do in animation, or more specifically, character animation, that would warrant my buying it. Again, I have no real clue what Messiah has to offer other then what videos I've seen, mostly from their site but also "Fallen Art" and I believe Jimmy Neutron is done with Messiah but I could be mistaken. Of those I have been impressed, especially with Taron's work, but that goes without saying. Jimmy Neutron is only so-so. But from just watching what people have done I don't really how it's tools add up. One of the things I am dealing with right now is a very oddly shaped character and volume preservation in Maya. It's a very simple mesh and yet has been a skinning nightmare (yeah, I'm an anally retentive perfectionist!) So what does Messiah have to offer that would make me take a second and maybe even a third look at it?

All of what everyone else has said. Plus its only $399.

maddav99
06-18-2008, 11:31 PM
How about the learning curve? As far as I can tell there is all of about nothing as far as tutorials. I know I can go through the manual and read it word for word, but I do like to follow vids and see whats being done. I know Joe Cosman has vids, but as far as I can tell he's no longer got a site. I just know there are tricks that noone knows until they do it.

Parsec3d
06-19-2008, 12:28 AM
madd.. well interface is always a thing of taste and getting used to it , but IMO the
Messiah interface is one of the most elegant non offensive non-childish non-playschool looking buttons or msword/exel looking environment, has an absolute professional look and it
works , that is always again IMO a great point in any learning curve...

Ulven
06-19-2008, 01:20 AM
You can get all of joe's tutorials here: http://stores.lulu.com/JoeCosman

I'd advise having at least a little look around in the manual, there are a couple of basic concepts there that will make it easier to follow along any tutorials and doing experimentation.

For me the learning curve for getting into it was very short and sweet and I mostly just experimented my way there, but it'll always be different from person to person I guess.

KAMAKAZZI
06-19-2008, 11:45 AM
Everyone had really good input and I coincide to whats been previously stated on the positive aspects of Messiah.

Although I saw many favor the animation abilities, the rendering features in Messiah is powerful too. The modular system available for the shading systems is magnificant and makes it easier to create unique renders without struggling.

If you use ZBrush---I highly recommend Messiah. It works so well with ZBrush assets and I think it even handles it better than ZBrush itself! Can even use multiple displacement maps as to other multiple maps with total control with the shading system. Only drawback to this method, is that shaders work closely with the render engine and if you plan on pipelining all your shading effects generated in Messiah into other applications--you wont succeed unless you bake that information onto your models.

A good approach I use to embrace Messiah's rendering and shading system abilities is to just render out my foreground characters with alphas for my composition application like Fusion. From there I have all leverages of planting a background created with Vue Infinite and any other applications to my desire for environment solutions and background creations.

Check out some more samples I posted on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cypher10101101&search_type=&aq=f

There is a video I posted displaying Messiah to Lightwave and 3D Max integration. The power of integrating your work is superior!

The bone influence is spectacular! Once you add in bones to your character...you can already see how much influence you have over your model with just a few bones applied. I even think it is better than any other bone systems in other applications--including Maya.

Weight effects are great and can have great control through MetaEffectors. Now there is no weight mapping onto the model at the moment. I hope Pmg will create means of converting your field weighting props into weight maps onto your OBJ (I think there is a plugin out there, I am not sure though). This can allow you to reuse the controlled influence of your model into your initial 3D application if needed.

My only thing is, I dont understand why there are so little people recognizing Messiah's power. Game developers especially. I got turned down so many times through game companies because of my pipeline...film would be a better avenue for this line of product. Game development is still trying to mature and hopefully standardized tools from back in the day will be breached with new state of the art technology...Messiah. Been mistaken too many times for my rigs being generated in Maya...soon as I say, "oh it was created in Messiah",---I get denied (after I already went through 3 phases of an interview--oh how convenient). Most of their argument would be that the rigs are great but how would you allow our in-house animators in the game industry to animate your rigs without having to purchase mulitple licensed seats (already costing an established company more money). Despite the integration knowledge to all initial 3D applications---having multiple animators to work on your rigs can hurt your intentions due to the lack of knowledge about Messiah. If your a film developer--you will have an easier time with this tool. Game development is a bit harder for this application for some odd reason. Speaking out of my personal experience. I am sure there are people out there that honor Messiah for game development. The ones that do use Messiah for games are fresh companies, any long term established game company would rather stick to Maya, Max and Motion Builder users.

Hope this input granted an insight of some sort.

Best,

C.

maddav99
06-19-2008, 06:53 PM
Thanks Kamakazii, of all the responses Ive received, as helpful as they've been, yours by far is the one that sold me. Thanks again to everyone who responded!

One other thing, on you tube are you Cypher? A list of vids came up on your link and I don't want to assume- not that it makes any difference. Thanks again.

KAMAKAZZI
06-19-2008, 09:06 PM
Nice Maddav99, glad I could be of aid on such an important descision. And yes I am known as Cypher10101101 on YouTube. Those list of videos under that name are all my submissions.

I need to update and put more goods...hopefully I can assemble tutorials once I slow down on contracts.

I want to archive a good short with Messiah being a great part of production.

Download Gaim or Pidgin to have access to IRC and join channel #Messiah3D. At times you can stumble into someone that might have your answer regarding to Messiah.

My suggestion to you when you start is to follow the power users such as Ulven, Taron, David Maas, Julez, Joe Cosman, AlexK, William Eggington and a handful more that I am too lazy to list.

Everyone in the Messiah community is awesome and eager to help out. So ask questions and let us all do well in the industry.


Kindest Regards,

Cypher

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